How to get Plants for Free – Part 2
Welcome back to ThatPlantyLife blog for the second part in our series, how to get plants for free. If you read Part one, then you know all about how to propagate houseplants using water. Drop us a comment and let us know what you’ve propagated lately! Now that you know how to accumulate more baby plants from the ones you already own you might be wondering well this is great but, I don’t really want 20 pothos in my house. No need to worry! Today, we’re learning all about how to do a houseplant swap! We’re going to go over everything you need to know to use the plants you have to get the plants you want for free!!
With spring in full swing, we thought it would be the perfect time to get you introduced to the amazing practice of houseplant swaps! In this post, we’re going to be going over everything you need to know to complete a houseplant swap via the mail. Before you go that route, check your local area to see if there are any local plant swap events happening. We definitely recommend attending an actual plant swap event if there’s one available close to where you reside. It’s a perfect way to meet amazing plant people in your area all while trading plants!
Reasons to do a houseplant swap
- Become a pro at rooting houseplants
- Get new houseplants you want for free
- Obtain a houseplant you can’t find locally
- Meet new planty friends
- Feel forever connected to awesome plant people
How to Complete a Houseplant Swap
Propagate a houseplant that you would like to swap. When you do a plant swap you can either send a fresh cutting or a rooted cutting. It might be tempting to just do a fresh cutting because you’re so excited about the prospect of a new plant that it’s hard to be patient. I would recommend doing a swap of rooted cuttings though. It takes a little longer but with a rooted cutting, there are higher chances of having a successful plant. It’s very sad to get a cutting that you’re trying to root that rots or doesn’t take and you’re left with nothing but your tears.
Find the goal plant
Get some ideas of plant cuttings you would be interested in swapping for. It’s important to keep in mind that the plant you want to swap for needs to of similar value to the plant you’ll be offering. You’re not going to find anyone who wants to swap your Pothos for a variegated Monstera.
Once you know what you want to swap for, conduct some research about it to make sure you can care for it once it arrives. Make sure you have the appropriate lighting that will be required to keep it happy. You can always supplement the light in your home by adding a grow light. Check out our favorite plants to see if we’ve featured the plant you want in our monthly plant highlights! You can also drop us a comment or contact us if you have any questions about plant care.
Find someone willing to swap
A great place to start is on Facebook groups. There are plant swapping groups for whole countries down to towns. If you find one for your specific town/state definitely join it. Being able to meet up with someone in a public place in your town to complete the swap is going to be the most convenient way to complete a houseplant swap.
I’ve also used the site www.housesplantswap.com before to find people who are interested in swapping. You can search through other people’s posts to see what they have and want, or even make your own post offering what you have.
Another way to find someone is through Instagram. If I know what plant I’m hoping to add to my collection, I’ll simply search the name of the plant in the tags section. Then I’ll scroll through and reach out to people I think might be interested in a swap. Not everyone will respond but plant people are the best people and are usually happy to talk to another plant lover!
Make a Plan
Once you find someone willing to swap houseplant cuttings with you; exchange information on where you’ll be sending your cutting and where they need to send yours. Make sure you’re both on the same page about how your cuttings will be shipped, rooted or unrooted. Also, make sure to research if it’s legal to ship plants to the state or country of both parties.
Prepare your Plant for Shipping
We recommend shipping live plants out on Monday or Tuesday. This is best because it lowers the risk of the plant getting stuck in a post office over the weekend. Without sunlight or love, it’s a stressful time for delicate plant babies. The sooner they can get to their new plant parent the better! We’ve included a short guide below with all our tips for packaging houseplant cuttings.
Mail the cuttings/plant
Be sure to take a picture of the tracking number and send it to the person you’re swapping with.
Wait patiently for your plant baby to arrive. When it arrives it might be looking a little sad and droopy. Don’t stress quite yet! Plop it in some water and give it a few days. Once it perks up and acclimates a little bit, pot up your new plant baby in some quality houseplant soil. Dance around with your new plant and celebrate your first successful houseplant swap! You did amazing!
Tips for Shipping Plant Cuttings
Box that will comfortably fit your plant cuttings
Tissue paper/shredded paper
Damp Paper Towel
Wrap Cutting in Paper Towel
You want your paper towel to be wet but you don’t want it to be dripping with water. Place the roots of your plant on the paper towel while keeping the leaves exposed.
Place in Sandwich Bag
Once you have your roots wrapped up place your cutting into a small plastic bag. I then fold it up and secure it will some packaging tape.
Place in Box
Carefully place the plants into their box on top of some sort of shipping cushioning material underneath them. Next, carefully place some more on top of the plants. The goal is to make it so that plants will not be moving around while being shipped, while still not being squished. I like to add a friendly reminder to the box to please not crush or squish it!
One of the main reasons I love houseplant swaps is that you can make genuine connections with people you might never have the chance to otherwise. Once you have a part of their plant and they have a part of yours you have this cool connection with them that can turn into a forever friendship. It’s amazing and fun to meet people who have the same interests as you.
If you want more plant tips, knowledge, and inspiration, follow us on Instagram and Pinterest. Also, make sure to subscribe to our blog so you never miss out on a new post. Stay tuned for Part 3 of this series where we will give you another method of getting houseplants for free!!